Not much going on this upcoming week of boxing (sorry, but Danny Jacobs-John Ryder is something I'll watch more as a chore, than as a fan) and quite frankly I didn't know what this edition of the award-winning K9's Corner would focus on.
But on Monday night a particular tweet from RING_IQ_TOXING_BALK(@iqnewz) piqued my interest:
It actually got me thinking, who are the boxers I enjoy watching the most? The first few were relatively easy, the last one I had to contemplate a bit. Now, to make this clear, this is not about who I think are the best fighters in the sport.
A pound-for-pound list this is not.
This is just one persons list of favorite fighters to watch. They aren't all champions, or even elite. What they are in my view are the guys who perform in such a way that when they are scheduled to fight, I make sure to tune in. Some guys are main event performers, others are currently filling out undercards. They all have different styles, but for one reason or the other -- to my eyes, they are fun to watch.
That's really the only criteria. Whether or not they are world champions at the moment, or even considered world-class, is irrelevant. Bottom line: do I enjoy watching them? That's all that matters.
So here it is, my Fab Five (in no particular order)....
- Jaron Ennis (28-0, 26 KOs, age 24)
'Boots' is a rising welterweight contender who in all reality will only get a title shot until someone is held at gunpoint, or made a mandatory challenger. From the fighting city of Philadelphia, he is their most talented boxer in decades (with all due respect to Stephen Fulton, who is also very gifted in his own right)
Ennis is a deluxe switch-hitter, much like Terence Crawford, and while he has the ability to be athletic and box his way to victory, he prefers to be a bit of a daredevil and press for knockouts. One day he may run into a shot he never sees coming -- but that's part of his appeal. The only question mark at this point is really is his punch resistance. But everything else seems to be in place.
In my view he's no worse than the third best fighter at 147, and among the most entertaining. The question at this juncture is if he'll get a welterweight title shot before he grows out of the weight. I'll make a bold prediction -- while echoing the past statements of trainer, Stephen 'Breadman' Edwards -- Ennis will win major world titles at welterweight, junior middleweight and eventually, middleweight.
He's been hyped to a point where some believe he is now actually overrated. Perhaps, but at the same time, there's a reason why nobody is rushing to face him.
- Jesse Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KO, age 22)
Yeah, you can accuse me of being a prisoner of the moment (something I have served time for in the past) but 'Bam' is someone who I've been high on for quite awhile. From the very moment he turned professional back in 2017 at the age of 17, this was a boxer that insiders were bullish on.
Rodriguez, who's brother is Joshua Franco, this past weekend put on a strong showing in defeating the experienced Carlos Cuadras for the vacant WBC 115-pound title. He exhibited his vast array of skills in conclusively defeating the veteran. On less than a weeks notice, he moved up in weight and stepped up to the plate and delivered.
This is a fighter who is a slashing southpaw, who has Lomachenko-esque pivots, and has a complete arsenal of punches with both hands. His balance and weight-shift/torque is textbook in execution.
- Danny Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs, age 31)
Roman, the former unified champion at 122, is not a slugger, but one that just slashes you with accurate, well-delivered punches that he puts together well. He's not a flashy fighter, but one that is grounded in solid fundamentals.
What I enjoy about Roman is that every fight he goes into, he understands that he has to put in a full nights work, and slowly break down his opponents. Roman is now currently the mandatory challenger to Fulton, who currently holds the WBC and WBO belts at 122. It will be interesting to see if Fulton will stay in the pocket versus this blue-collar sharpshooter.
- Naoyo Inoue (22-0 19 KOs, age 28)
'the Monster' is the most accomplished boxer on this list, Inoue is considered one of the very best boxers in the sport. To paraphrase what Bum Phillips said about Earl Campbell: it doesn't take long to call roll in the class that he's in.
Inoue is one of the most destructive fighters in the sport, who generates incredible power with his lower body torque, and has consistently honed his tools.
He captured the World Boxing Super Series title after defeating future Hall-of-Famer, Nonito Donaire, in one of the best bouts of recent memory. In this contest, Inoue, showed that he isn't just a front running bully, but a fighter with some real character who can dig his way out of adversity
My only gripe is that since Inoue signed on with Top Rank, he's fought just three times since 2019. Certainly the world-wide pandemic has had an adverse impact on his career, here's hoping that moving forward that he will be more active, and be involved in some meaningful fights.
- William Zepeda (24-0, 22 KO's, age 25)
Golden Boy Promotions
This southpaw comes at you in waves from his left-handed stance. Zepeda isn't your classic southpaw cutie, he's a guy that throws punches in bunches and suffocates his foes in leather. I've used that old phrase before that certain guys fight like they're double-parked. Well, this fella fights like he's robbing a bank.
He gets to what he's doing in rapid fashion and doesn't let up. Zepeda has scored 14 consecutive knockouts.
He was a relatively unknown coming into 2021, but he made a real statement in halting the previously undefeated, Hector Tanajara, in six rounds. He closed out the year by drowning John Vicente Moralde in leather four rounds. Anyone who faces Zepeda better be well-conditioned and prepared for the all-out onslaught that will be coming their way.
Who know what Zepeda's ceiling is, regardless, he's already established himself as must-see TV.
It was formally announced by Premier Boxing Champions that the welterweight unification between Errol Spence and Yordenis Ugas will take place on April 16 at AT@T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It is being reported by Boxingscene.com that Showtime will distribute this pay-per-view card.
This is a match-up that features the number two(Spence) and three (Ugas) welterweights in the Ring Magazine rankings.
For Spence this is his first outing since December of 2020, when he out-pointed Danny Garcia over 12 rounds. He was then scheduled to face Manny Pacquiao last summer, but that never came to fruition as he was diagnosed with a detached retina a few weeks before that event.
Ugas, was then tabbed to replace Spence, and he then sent 'the Pac Man' into retirement by Ugas, who out-boxed him over the distance.
On the latest episode of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' on Triller with Mario Lopez and I, we discussed this past weekends boxing, the George Kambosos auction taking place at 135, and the Janet Jackson documentary on Lifetime.....
Making the honorable mention of fighters I like to watch are: Jaime Munguia, Keyshawn Davis (yes, even this early on), Jared Anderson, Brandun Lee, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Emanuel Navarette....By the way, 'Ring IQ Boxing Talk' has a fine YouTube channel, I highly recommend you subscribe to it.... "Secret of Playboy'' on A@E was interesting....So anyone paying for Super Bowl tickets?....The Lakers don't need a new coach, they need a new GM....I can be reached at email@example.com....